Posted tagged ‘guild shopping’

The 5 Traits I Want in a Leader

July 19, 2011

Sitting on the fence, trying to figure out what I want from my gaming, now that I almost have the time to play and play hard, I’m constantly asking myself the question: “What do I want?” The answers used to change depending on my mood, but lately they’ve been converging.

I want in a guild:

- A project. Or rather, the opportunity to become involved in a project. I’m not vain enough to expect, or even want, to waltz in and take over an established group. But I do want to eventually be actively involved in pushing a group forward.

- A leadership team I trust and enjoy working with.

Why I want this:

I’m a good second. I’m not a visionary, I’m not a dreamer, I’m not someone who sees big. I am, however, easily influenced by other people’s visions and big dreams. I also really like planning, sorting, organizing. I like making dreams, other people’s dreams, a reality. (I missed my career calling, I should have become an investment consultant.)

I’m also not a passive player. Oh, I’m a little passive when I’m new, or when I don’t intend to commit. But once I’ve claimed a home, I’m one of those people who need to speak their mind, need to know everything and need to have a hand in everything. I don’t expect to control everything (despite being a bossy pally), but I’m at my happiest when in the eye of the storm. I lose interest very fast in “This is how things are and this is how things are going to be” environments.

Looking back at my guild-dating history (following my decision to regard my relationships with guilds the same way normal people regard their relationships with significant others. Not to be confused with dating-guildies. Which I swear I have never done and don’t plan on doing. Flings in foreign countries and Blizzcon dates don’t count. Yes, I like starting rumours.), what seems to have made or broke the relationships was always whether I subscribed to The Vision. If I could find A Vision.

I use the general word leader intentionally, instead of GM/GL, officer, healing lead, tanking lead, raid laid. To me, a leader is someone with A Vision and the ability to conjure that Vision in others. Sometimes leaders have official titles and roles, sometimes they’re just a face in the masses who happens to communicate good ideas well.

So then I pondered about those leaders I wanted to follow, those leaders who I followed then stopped and those folk who I never really thought of as leaders. What makes me believe in a leader?

There are a lot of bloggers who are guild officers and who offer advice from their experience. But you don’t often get followers who explain which traits attract their respect and, um, follow-ship. So here are the things that make someone a leader to me:

1- Communicates Well and Regularly – This is Number 1 for a reason: I can’t support something if I don’t know what I’m supporting. I constantly need to know what’s going on, not because I want to be annoying (while I do quite enjoy being a pest, my curiosity is not driven by my pestyness). It’s that in order to decide whether I’ll support and believe in an idea, I need to know the what, how and why of that idea. The leaders who’ve earned my respect are those who can answer those questions, and use those answers to convince me that their idea is a good one.

2- Sets Clear Expectations – I want to know what’s expected of me and of those around me. I want to know what my role is supposed to be. I have a pretty good sense of initiative and will jump in when I see a need, but it’s very difficult to be on the same page if I don’t know what the page is. And beyond that, in regular day-to-day guild life, I like consistency, I like when policies are enforced. When I don’t have to worry about expectations, I can focus my energy on things, like, oh I dunno…having fun.

3- Honesty and/or Integrity – I know when I’m being bullshitted. I might fall for it once. Twice if you’ve got that politician twinkle in your teeth. But after that I’ll figure it out. Most people pick up on lies quite quickly and on fake even faster. To be believed in, you need to be trusted. To be trusted, you have to be honest when it comes to matters relevant to the guild (luckily most people don’t care enough about your personal life to keep tabs on those lies unless they’re huge. Note: it is possible to tell the truth and be gentle at the same time!) and you have to practice what you preach.

4- Knows How to Say No – Saying “no” properly has two components. One in actually delivering the refusal and the second is delivering it a way that makes the receiver say “thank you“. Developing skills for both those components is pretty crucial to earning respect. And it’s especially important in dealing with people like me. I offer a lot of suggestions and a lot of feedback. I expect to be listened to. I expect to be listened to, but I also expect to be told “no” when I’m wrong, when I’m unreasonable and when someone has a better idea. It’s also pretty hard to respect a person who lets others walk all over them, who runs from conflict instead of solving it.

5- Enthusiasm – You know those shock value blogs that consist of guild or raid leader bitching about their guilds? And those GM’s who’s #1 advice to new GMs is “Don’t do it“? I love reading those bloggers, but I feel sorry for everyone in their guilds. And I’d never consider joining their guilds. Now I understand temporary frustration and I don’t mind being a shoulder or a pep talker (in fact, I actually really enjoy it), but I want a leader with a generally positive attitude. A leader is someone selling me a Vision. I won’t buy the Vision from someone miserable. If you want my subscription to your leadership, then show me that you’re worth my energy, that you enjoy what you do and that I won’t have to spend my game time nagging you to do your job.

And those are the 5 traits of the leaders I want to work with. I wrote in a gaming context, but I think it applies to just about every group-related part of my life. I tried to avoid the word “like” as much as possible, since respecting and liking are two different things. Generally I’ll like the people I respect as a leader, but there are many individuals who respect people they don’t like. I can, however, like someone whom I don’t think of a leader.

Guilds Paying for Server Transfers… Good News or Bad News?

May 10, 2011

On Twitter the other night, Vidyala mentioned noticing a guild shopper requesting that the guild recruiting him pay for his server transfer.

Ouch.

Now, guilds paying for server transfers are pretty common. In case you haven’t been hanging around the recruitment forums lately, I took a screenshot for you. If you want to see for yourself, go to the forums, type in “pay for server transfer” in the search bar and that’s what you’ll get. Note from the dates on the results (I didn’t sort them by date) that this phenomenon didn’t start last week either.

What worried Vidyala, and would worry me too if I were a guild recruiter, was players coming to expect prospective guilds paying for their transfers.

Kurn then thought of the question of, well, should guilds pay for players’ transfers back if they fail their trial period?

Me, the Future Guild Shopper

I’m moving across the country in July, from Middle-of-the-Atlantic-Ocean to Alberta. We’re talking 4 timezones, or 3.5 hours difference. And if that wasn’t enough, I’m going from having to get up early in the morning to will be working until 9pm Mountain Time some nights.

I left my last serious raiding guild in early January, two raids before their Cho’gall kill. As a result, not only will I need a late-but-not-too-late raiding guild, but I need a guild who’ll accept me in my stalled at 9/12 for the past 4 months state.

I miss serious and 25 man raiding a lot. My current guilds (I divide my time between two guilds now!) are both lovely, but I’m aching for hard modes. I’m aching for being able to yell at people who screw up, I’m aching for being yelled at for screwing up, I’m aching for fast run-backs after wipes, I’m aching for long strategy discussions on guild forums.

I know that most guilds don’t mind recruiting from lower down, but the kind of raiding I want to get back into is way, way out of my gear and experience’s league. I don’t mind playing the bench and alt runs until I’m deemed capable of the guild’s content (I would rather that than having to guild-hop my way up), but I dare you to convince a guild of that.

Then, if I weren’t demanding enough, I want a guild with a certain level of class. Not too politically correct (I’m too mouthy for politically correct guilds), but I don’t want flashbacks of my elementary schoolbus rides either.

So I’m quite happy to see that guilds are pretty damn desperate these days. Maybe they’ll be desperate enough to take me and accommodate all my specific requirements.

But I wouldn’t want a guild to pay for my transfer.

You read that right.

As much as I complain about money, poor starving student that I am, I don’t want a guild to pay for my server transfer. Nor would I want for them to pay for my transfer away if things don’t work out.

I want a guild to take me despite my lack of gear and experience. But I don’t want a guild so desperate that they’re willing to pay 25$ per applicant. See, I’m confident in my healing ability, despite my gear and experience. They have nothing to lose by taking me, except maybe 10 minutes of their time if I wipe the raid. And I’m confident that I’ll blow their minds with what my blue gear pieces can do. If they pay me to come over, then they’re risking far more than 10 minutes of their time. They must be in pretty bad shape to be willing to risk that much. I don’t want a guild in bad shape.

As for paying for the transfer away if things don’t work out, I don’t like that either. When I make the decision to hit “accept” on a guild invite, I want it to be meaningful. I don’t make commitments often (how many years have I been single, now? 4? 5?), but when I do, I Commit with a capital C. Entering a new environment, hearing new voices on vent, seeing unknown names in guild chat, getting used to a new guild culture… It’s hard for me. Not something I want to do often. Same goes for leaving a guild.

So no, I don’t want to join a guild where the message is “it’s ok, if we don’t like each other, we’ll make it cheap for you to leave“.

I want to be sure of myself before I join a new guild and a new server. And I want that guild to be sure of me before I make that step.

I know that for so many players, playing musical chairs with guilds isn’t a big deal. But for me it is. And I find that having my transfers paid for would trivialize my commitment.

How I Met My Guild

August 4, 2010

For months, I’ve been thinking about writing a guild seeking guide. However, the Universal Laws of Blogging dictate that the more and longer you think about writing on a topic, the less likely you are to get around to doing it. Or maybe it’s not a Universal Law, maybe it’s just a Bossy Pally Law. Either way, I’ll probably never get around to writing an elaborate, step by step, failproof, satisfaction guaranteed or your 5 minutes back guide to guild shopping.

Besides, even though I could write a saga on how to tell good guilds from bad guilds, it would be total hypocrisy. While I did read guild website after guild website and made lists of what I was looking for, I ended up screwing it all and went with the very first guild I considered anyway.

I get teased a lot about being indecisive. Anyone who’s ever been to a restaurant with me (or worse, who’s ever had to choose a restaurant with me) has some pretty dramatic stories to share. But it’s actually the other way around: I know exactly what I want. If what I want isn’t an option, then I don’t care what I end up getting.

I love telling the story of how I met one of my best friends. I’d been in the US for a total of two days as a very exotic Canadian exchange student (while Americans are not exotic to Canadians, apparently Canadians are exotic to Americans). I ran into another girl from my home school who invited me to a party at her dorm. I had other plans (I think they involved playing WoW) but my roomate kicked me out for the night and I ended up at the dorm party. I walked into the room, looked around, picked out one guy and thought “that one“. Even though it turned out that we were both silent types who don’t speak to strangers, we somehow ended up talking. Until 4 am. 5 years later, we’re still super close.

This is us, in Zangarmarsh

Picking a guild was just like that. I was listening to a podcast. I can’t remember if it was the WoW Insider Show or The Elitists (which at the time was a WoW podcast), but Matticus was there and talking about the hard modes his guild was doing and how they raided on tight schedule. I thought to myself “I wish that was my guild“.

A few weeks later, I was in that guild.

I wouldn’t say it was impulsive. I did think long and hard about whether I wanted to leave the guild I was in at the time. I did go guild shopping, trying to find a serious raiding guild with a middle-of-the-Atlantic-ocean-pharmacy-student-friendly schedule. I browsed the recruitment forums, I browsed WoW Progress, I fine-tooth combed WoW Headhunters. I bookmarked a few interesting guilds and followed their progression for a little while.

I did everything by the book, but the more I research I did, the more I realized that I had my mind made up all along.

I get attached to guilds, so the transition was painful. The culture shock was also…shocking. I came from a guild mainly composed of professionals in their mid 30s to mid 40s. My current guild has an age range of 15 to 38 with players from all walks of life. The dirty dirty humour from my old guild (I guess older people who are married with kids are more comfortable with their sexuality or something) was replaced by the rowdier, more aggressive joking around of a younger crowd.

There were a few “OMIGOSH” moments.

The very first raid I ran with them was a ToC 10 alt run. I’d just server transferred, so I was feeling a little spooked. I was eager to get involved, though, so I jumped at the occasion.

As we were zoning in, I noticed we’d be 2-healing ToC. Until then, I’d always 3-healed ToC, but I had been wanting to try 2-healing since, like, forever. Early on Northrend Beasts, I was welcomed with this conversation:

Random person: The healing is really bad.
Me: *Thinking* Shit.
Random person: The healing sucks and it’s not the pally.
Me: *Relieved*

Sure enough the priest was a dusty alt that hadn’t been played in months. He stood around trying to find where he put his spells. So I can almost say that on my very first raid, I was forced to solo heal ToC. (Note that this was back in October, before everyone was solo healingToC.)

Another memorable first impression moment was also in ToC. I can’t remember if it was my first or my second 25 man, but it was 25 man and it was heroic. I’d never done heroic before. I was terrified during Northrend Beasts, I was terrified during Jaraxxus. And then I was standing in front of Faction Champs. We did pretty badly. We came back and did pretty badly again. After a few times of doing pretty badly, the raid leader lost his shit. Or maybe he didn’t, but compared to the soft, gentle, soothing voice of my old guild’s raid leader, this certainly sounded like someone losing their shit.

I don’t like the word petrified because its been abused too much by bad fanfiction writers, but there’s no better way to describe me at that moment. I stared at my screen with my eyes wide open wondering if my muscles would let me try to hide under my bed. I couldn’t really make out what was being said, I get confused when people use too many swear words, but I was sure it wasn’t very good.

A few of the guys protested. Tempers all around were getting heated. Then those angry guys went and destroyed those Heroic Faction Champs.

I learned quite a bit about men, motivation and mobilization that night.

Even during those first few awkward weeks, I never looked back and I never regretted my decision. It’s been, what, about 10 months? I still haven’t had any second thoughts.

A few weeks ago, my GM asked everyone, one by one, what their plans for Cataclysm were. When asked why I’d be sticking around, I thought of Zath who yells “HI RYKGA HI RYKGA HI RYKGA HI RYKGA” everytime I log onto vent. I thought of the guildie whom I shall not name who gave me a Stratholme Lily after I gave him a Paper Zeppelin Kit for Christmas. (I still carry that flower in my bags all the time.) I thought of Kimbo and his many hilarious attempts to get a reaction out of me. (I’m not a reactive person, but I do love attention.) I thought of how I’ve always felt welcome on vent, even though I rarely say anything. I thought about how there’s always one or two people noticing my absences if I’ve been critted by real life a few days in a row. Had I been asked the question today, I would have also thought about how they make room for me in raids, rustiness and outdated gear and all, on the rare nights I’m not working.

It was too long and complicated to explain so I just answered “because I’m happy here“.

The point I’m trying to get to isn’t really that my guild is more awesome. I’m happy, but there have been others who weren’t happy and who moved on. The point is more that I think, deep down inside, we all know what we want. It’s good to look around, to consider all our options, but really, sometimes we look too far. I don’t get people who want one thing, purposely go after something else then complain about it. Be honest with yourself, take things for what they really are and listen to your gut.

So I suppose my guild shopping guide could be reduced to one line: stop bullshitting yourself and go to do what you’ve secretly always want to do.


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